'We promise to leave you alone': Unusual new policy for shop

Laura Budds, owner of Norfolk Retro wants all her customers to feel comfortable. 

Laura Budds, owner of Norfolk Retro wants all her customers to feel comfortable. - Credit: Laura Budds

A new independent vintage store will be leaving its shoppers be in a bid to make its experience more comfortable. 

Norfolk Retro, on St Augustine's Street in NR3, is hoping that by greeting customers quietly and then leaving them to browse people who are introverted or neurodivergent might feel less pressure. 

Owner Laura Budds said: “As an introvert myself I know that I often find visiting small, independent shops daunting if I've never been inside before, mostly because there is definitely an increased chance of having to 'chat' and small talk fills me with fear. 

“It was a running joke in my family when preparing for the shop opening that I should put a sign outside saying browsers welcome, but don't expect any chit chat as I'm famously bad at it.” 

The shop sells vintage furniture and homeware suitable for a modern home

The shop sells vintage furniture and homeware suitable for a modern home, before moving into the premises it was named in Elle Decoration's Top 11 Instagram Furniture Dealers. - Credit: Laura Budd

Norfolk Retro has been open for just over a month now and Laura said she often observes people through the window looking admiringly at all the stock.  

Laure, 39, added: “I recognised in them my own thought process when faced with a new, small and unfamiliar shop.  

“I visit a lot of small shops when looking for vintage stock for my shop and I know that it can be an intense experience, especially if you're the only customer and you encounter a particularly chatty owner when you just want to have a quiet browse.” 

Laura Budd, 39 is the shops owner.

Laura Budd, 39 is the shops owner. - Credit: Laura Budd

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Laura said she wanted people to know that she understands that feeling and that they are more than welcome to come in.

And after a post on Instagram she has now had 15,000 views.  

So, what measures has Laura taken to make it more comfortable?  

She explained: “Even though it's a small space I've got good music on in the background, I greet customers, but don't force any uninitiated chat and make sure I'm busy behind the till area so they don't feel like they're being 'watched'.” 

She also posts lots of photos on Instagram so that people can get a feel for the shop and what to expect before they visit, plus stories with her speaking so they know who to expect. 

Norfolk Retro is located on St Augustines in NR3

Norfolk Retro is located on St Augustines in NR3 - Credit: Laura Budd

“I offer direct shopping via Instagram when people spot things, they like the look of - they pay online and collect their items when they're ready,” she added.  

Norfolk Retro stocks a range of affordable mid-century furniture and vintage homeware pieces that fit in a modern home, offering free local delivery on larger pieces. 

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